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Those over 80 are lining up to get their first round doses of COVID-19 vaccine

There was palpable excitement in the air in the hallway at Sanford Webster Medical Center last week where residents from Heritage Village sat in chairs, waiting for their turn to get the vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“I feel good, anxious,” said Ilene Stave, 80. She said she was notified last week by text message that she was eligible to receive the shot. “I thought, ‘Oh goodie!’ Us people in Heritage have been all waiting.”

Earlier this month, the state moved up their vaccination schedule. Now, persons over 80 years of age and those in communal living situations are at the front of the line.

Sanford Webster is the solitary source for the vaccine in Day County. According to clinic supervisor Evelyn Christensen, the vaccine is being alloted by county. It doesn’t matter who a person’s primary provider is, those in Day County will receive their vaccine in Webster at the Sanford clinic.

Those in the Sanford network have been receiving automated messages and being contacted to set up an appointment, Christensen said. They are also working with Avera in Waubay to ensure those qualified individuals in that healthcare network will receive their vaccine. Any person who feels they have been overlooked should call the Sanford clinic to make arrangements, she said.

Back in the waiting area, 89-year-old Margaret McKittrick said her original appointment was scheduled for later that week but when she was given the opportunity to come in a few days early, she leapt at the chance.

“I was ready to get it done,” she said. “I hope it works. We just have to take one day at a time. It doesn’t do any good to fret over it.”

Sitting next to McKittrick, Sharon Majeske, 86 said she woke up with a bounce knowing it was the day she would receive the first round of the COVID vaccine.

“I’m just so happy to get it. When I set up my appointment, I called my kids right away and said, ‘Guess what!’” Majeske said. She added with glee, “My kids were just so happy. My daughter called me this morning at seven o’clock to make sure I didn’t oversleep.”

After receiving her shot, Mavis Witchey, 86 said, “I just hope this virus goes so we can be with our family and go to church.” She said she’s stayed out of the public since the start of the pandemic, keeping to her residence at Heritage Village. After she receives her second shot and has built up immunity, she said the first thing she’s going to do is visit family.

Alice Donat looked stoic as the nurse pressed the needle into her skin and injected the vaccine into her arm. Immediately after, she said she was glad to have the first round done.

“I’m looking forward to an end to this terrible year,” she said. “I realize it will take some time yet, but it’s a start.”

Donat is counting down the days until she can get her second dose.

Seeing the excitement of people getting their vaccines, Christensen said, “I just wish we had enough for everybody. We’re doing it (administering the vaccine) as fairly as we can.”

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